Lamenting how Nancy Pelosi's archbishop has "slap[ped] her down," in an online statement addressing the House Speaker's excuse-making for her pro-abortion record, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift used a January 15 Gaggle blog post to praise Pelosi, no stranger to pastoral rebuke, as both a good pro-choice Democrat and a good Catholic:
It's anybody's guess whether in the new world of Internet media the archbishop's online commentary rebuking Pelosi falls under his pastoral duties, or public advocacy. Either way, Pelosi remains unshaken in her views, and in her Catholic faith.
"Free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others. Such a choice is abortion, which constitutes the taking of innocent human life, and cannot be justified by any Catholic notion of freedom."
Yet Clift left out another key excerpt from Neiderauer's "archbishop's journal" column (emphasis mine):
Yet that's exactly how Huffington Post religion editor and ordained American Baptist minister Paul Raushenbush went off on Pat Robertson for his controversial "pact with the devil" remarks about this week's devastating Haitian earthquake in a January 13 blog post:
Haiti is suffering, and the only response from Christians and other decent human beings is compassion, love, and all the concrete support we can supply. [...] Instead, Pat Robertson opined on his TV show, the 700 Club that this happened because, in order to gain liberty from the French, Haiti (read: black people) made a pact with the Devil. [...] Go to Hell, Pat Robertson -- and the sooner the better. Your 'theological' nonsense is revolting. Don't speak for Haiti, and don't speak for God...
"Radical cleric" is a term many news outlets, including the Associated Press, have used to describe Islamic clerics who encourage and/or train radical Muslims for jihad against civilians in the West. Case in point: Anwar al Awlaki, who reportedly inspired Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan's shooting spree.
But a commenter on Time magazine's Swampland blog seems to have convinced writer Karen Tumulty that the term is appropriate to apply to Pat Robertson, given his loopy pronouncement that a long-ago "pact with the devil" made by Haiti has cursed the Caribbean nation and resulted in yesterday's devastating earthquake:
Heidi Montag, the actress from MTV's pseudo reality show "The Hills," is a run-of-the-mill Hollywood personality. She has unnaturally large breasts (along with at least nine other surgical "touch-ups"), overprocessed bleach blond hair, skimpy clothes and even skimpier bikinis. She's married to an equally immature prima donna, Spencer Pratt, who throws random fits and says things like, "We're the most famous people in the world."
But Heidi doesn't just claim to be a "super-celebrity"; she also says she's a devout Christian and a "modern Mother Teresa." And that's entirely plausible, if Mother Teresa had a thing for singing lyrics like "eat my panties off of me."
The week-old story of Brit Hume's Christianity vs. Buddhism remarks is apparently still fodder for a good laugh, and comedienne Wanda Sykes attempted to squeeze out one more. The late-night talk show host arguably stepped over the line with a skit this week when she jokingly entertained the notion that Jesus was willing to give Tiger Woods crabs.
The Jan. 9 broadcast of Fox's "The Wanda Sykes Show" featured a sketch in which two actors playing Jesus and Buddha appeared as "guests" on the Fox News Channel show "The O'Reilly Factor" during which the former Fox News anchor expounded on his comments.
"This week, Brit Hume went on ‘The O'Reilly Factor' to talk about the statement he made that Tiger Woods should become a Christian," Sykes said. "And I'll say this about the interview - it was really fair and balanced."
Even obituaries can inform the public what the leftists at National Public Radio consider admirable.When Mother Teresa died in 1997, NPR stood out with a vicious obituary from anchor Scott Simon noting her "tolerance of tyrants and criminals" and her theology of "destructive comfort to keep people poor." Christopher Hitchens, who wrote a book-length attack on her, was welcomed to kick dirt on the memory of her.
On Tuesday, by contrast, NPR celebrated the life of "Catholic" scholar Mary Daly. No one was welcomed in to savage her. It was completely one-sided. She was, instead, "for many women, such as Sister Joan Chittister, a prominent nun, Daly was an icon."
This was a bit different than even the AP obituary, which more accurately called her "iconoclastic" in tone:
Radical feminist Mary Daly, the iconoclastic theologian who proclaimed, ''I hate the Bible,'' and retired from Boston College rather than allow men to take her classes, has died. She was 81.
The first rule of dinner-table conversation is no hot talk about politics or religion. Apparently there’s a rule regarding the discussion of religion during political talk shows, too.
On "Fox News Sunday" on January 3, the panelists had advanced to that light part of the discussion where they focusing on movies and crime novelists. Venerated news man Brit Hume turned to sports, and predicted Tiger Woods would return to success as a golfer. But if he really wanted to recover as a person, Hume suggested, he should consider Christianity. Woods is a Buddhist, he said, but Christianity offered the forgiveness and redemption that could really make Woods a powerful role model for faith and recovery.
Ka-boom. Oh, what a reaction erupted.
Some in the secular elite acted like Hume had set the national house on fire and broken all the fine china. Some TV talk show hosts quite seriously compared Hume’s comments to those of "Islamic extremists" waging a "holy war."
Winning is part of sports and often God is praised by athletes when that happens. Rarer though, is the athlete who praises God even in the midst of crushing disappointment.
But Colt McCoy, quarterback for the University of Texas Longhorns, took the opportunity to speak about his faith last night when ABC's Lisa Salters asked him how it felt to watch the BCS Championship game against Alabama from the sidelines.
"I always give God the glory. I never question why things happen the way they do. God is in control of my life. And I know that if nothing else, I'm standing on the Rock," McCoy stated.
McCoy had every reason to express frustration and disappointment last night. The senior took a hit that damaged his shoulder during his team's opening drive, ended his college career and, if it didn't doom Texas to defeat, it certainly had a hand in the team's 37 - 21 loss to Alabama.
I'm not at all sure why the liberal left is always so shocked that evangelical Christians want other people to become Christians. The outrage that followed Fox News anchor Brit Hume's plea to Tiger Woods to find Jesus has been totally disproportionate to the statement itself. The usual suspects—MSNBC and The Huffington Post—and indeed the whole liberal left blogosphere leapt all over Hume for his arrogance and conservatism.
The word "evangelical" comes from the Greek word for gospel, or "good news." Evangelical Christians are those who want to spread the good news. They aren't pretending to believe in salvation through Jesus Christ. They actually do believe that it—and yours, and mine—comes through him.
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann twice claimed that FNC contributor and former anchor Brit Hume’s public recommendation that Tiger Woods convert to Christianity to help solve his personal problems amounted to trying to "threaten" Woods into conversion. Previewing a segment focusing on Hume’s Monday appearance on The O’Reilly Factor to clarify his words from Fox News Sunday, Olbermann teased the show: "Brit Hume and the attempt to threaten Tiger Woods into converting to Christianity. He does it again."
Olbermann also plugged the segment before a commercial break: "Brit Hume has tried to force Tiger Woods into becoming a Christian again. That in a moment."
The Countdown host introduced the segment, contending again that Hume had tried to "threaten" Woods into becoming a Christian: "Brit Hume of Fox News has not only not apologized for his bizarre on-air attempt to threaten Tiger Woods into converting to Christianity, he`s actually gone further."
Notably, in December 2005, Olbermann distorted the words of former FNC host John Gibson from Gibson's radio interview on the Janet Parshal Show and compared the program to "an Al-Qaeda show on Al-Jazeera talking about infidels."
Editor's Note: The following is republished from a January 5 entry at Big Hollywood.
On "Fox News Sunday", panelist Brit Hume offered a hopeful New Year’s message for the fallen Tiger Woods:
“Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person, I think, is a very open question… the extent to which he can recover, it seems to me, depends on his faith. He’s said to be a Buddhist, I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger would be: ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.’”
As an avid golfer, Christian man, and therefore a witness to the historic fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Mr. Hume clearly offered his message in good faith with honest concern for both Tiger’s future and for that of his family, friends, fans and business associates.
Sadly however, some drones of Secularism have reflexively stomped on their Political Correctness brakes; stinging at Mr. Hume with personal demonization, as if he’d somehow committed a sin against their totalitarian faith:
If you're going to call out someone for hypocrisy, make sure you're not guilty of the same thing. Guest columnist Welton Gaddy, a pastor for preaching and worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, La. and MSNBC regular, apparently had no qualms with calling out former Fox News "Special Report" anchor Brit Hume in a Jan. 4 column, but is committing the same transgression.
Gaddy took issue with the Fox News senior political analyst's 39-second spiritual commentary on redemption for the recently disgraced Tiger Woods. And although Gaddy failed to mention that Hume publicly stepped out of his role as anchor/reporter in 2008, Gaddy revealed his disgust with the apparent preachy hypocrisy emanating from the "reporter" (emphasis added).
"The picture on the television screen and the audio of reporter Brit Hume's words struck me as contradictory," Gaddy wrote. "Just below the image of the reporter's face, the insignia 'Fox News' appeared in three different places. Yet, the content of Mr. Hume's comments was not that of a news reporter so much as that of a televangelist."
With his unconventional pass delivery and a physical style that seems just as comfortable running the ball anyway, some wonder if University of Florida star quarterback Tim Tebow will achieve NFL glory. But football fans just may get to see the story of the Heisman Trophy winner and unapologetic Christian impact the pro sport's biggest game of the year.
Colorado-based conservative group Focus on the Family reportedly may buy a Super Bowl spot for an ad about how Tebow’s mother carried him to term despite a difficult and dangerous pregnancy.
If true, it would be just another example of Tebow annoying the secular left. The quarterback is as famous for wearing Bible passage citations on his game-day eye black as for winning an NCAA championship. As NewsBusters has detailed, that practice – and the faith it symbolizes – is irksome to some commentators.
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann slammed FNC's Brit Hume for advising Tiger Woods to convert to Christianity while appearing on yesterday's Fox News Sunday panel, where Hume has regularly appeared for years and contributed his opinions to the discussion in a way that differs from his manner of moderating discussions in a more neutral way when he used to host Special Report with Brit Hume. Although Olbermann later backed away from likening Hume to radical Muslims, during the show's opening teaser, Olbermann did make such a comparison: "An organization proselytizing, trying to force others to convert to its faith alone, you know, just like Islamic extremists."
At one point as the Countdown host plugged a segment in which he discussed Hume with author Dan Savage, the words "Hume's Holy War" were shown at the bottom of the screen as Olbermann spoke: "So Brit Hume tells Tiger Woods he can be forgiven, but only if he converts to Christianity. Fox has given up all pretense, hasn’t it?"
As Olbermann and Savage went on to make fun of Christianity, the MSNBC host at one point quipped: "'WWJDIHS,' which is: What would Jesus do if he strayed?" Savage brought up fringe religious figure Fred Phelps, who has become infamous for holding protests at the funerals of American soldiers, and lumped him in with Hume, Pat Robertson and Gary Bauer. Savage:
A 15-second television ad for CNN’s iPhone app uses an instrumental version of the well-known Christian spiritual “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”
The spot, which has been running for the past weeks, highlights some of the capabilities of the app, shows pairs of hands accessing video clips, weather reports, and CNN live video. A short electric guitar and drums rendition of Christian hymn played as the hands moved across the screen. The slogan, “CNN: In Your Hands,” flashed across the screen at the end of the commercial.
During the 3PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor David Shuster claimed that Fox News political analyst Brit Hume "denigrated Christianity" when suggesting that scandal-ridden golfer Tiger Woods convert to the faith.
Shuster made the comments while discussing the issue with MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, asking: "Doesn’t it also denigrate Christianity when you do that on a Sunday political talk show? This isn’t church, this isn’t some sort of holy setting, this is a political talk show....Doesn’t that minimize the significance of Christianity, when you bring a discussion of Christianity into a conversation about politics?"
Buchanan replied: "He’s not denigrating Christianity....A lot of us feel that there ought to be more discussion of religion in politics and religious beliefs and what’s moral and right and wrong." Shuster pressed him: "And you don’t think this diminishes Christianity in any way?" Buchanan shot back: "What do you think, the religion’s dropped a peg or two now?" Shuster sarcastically responded: "I do think it diminishes the discussion of Christianity....This wasn’t the ‘700 Club,’ this wasn’t ‘Theocracy Today.’"
Bonnie Erbe of U.S. News and Report praised Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s efforts to change the Catholic Church’s perennial teaching against abortion in a December 23, 2009 blog entry, calling her a “modern-day Crusader of sorts” and outlandishly predicted that the Church would eventually “recognize the wisdom of...[her] approach.” Erbe would even go so far as to liken Townsend to St. Joan of Arc.
The left-wing contributing editor to U.S. News began her editorial with the “Crusader” label for the former Democratic lieutenant governor of Maryland, even going so far as to quote from the early 20th century Catholic Encyclopedia: “Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is a modern-day Crusader of sorts. As defined by the Catholic Encyclopedia, crusade means, ‘all wars undertaken in pursuance of a vow, and directed against infidels.’ I use the term Crusader figuratively, not literally, as she’s speaking out publicly, she’s not leading a war. She’s trying to change the minds of her own church leaders—she’s not directing her rhetoric toward infidels. Nonetheless she’s leading a crusade for her church that many clergymen see as blasphemous.”
Tolerance is a virtue the Left loves to trumpet, except when the intolerable is set forward. In this instance, the intolerable is a gentle Christian evangelistic overture to a celebrity caught in sexual scandal.
Yesterday, Fox News analyst and professing Christian Brit Hume expressed his spiritual concern for Tiger Woods and urged the golf superstar to turn to Christianity for grace and forgiveness during a segment of the January 3 edition of "Fox News Sunday."
Sharp-eyed Jim Geraghty at NRO's Campaign Spot draws a doozy out of the Can They Be Serious? Department. A Danish newspaper (Politiken) posted an editorial headlined "Obama Greater Than Jesus: The U.S. President -- the practical saviour of our times." It must simply be reproduced to be believed:
He is provocative in insisting on an outstretched hand, where others only see animosity.
His tangible results in the short time that he has been active – are few and far between. His greatest results have been created with words and speeches – words that remain in the consciousness of their audience and have long-term effects.
He comes from humble beginnings and defends the weak and vulnerable, because he can identify himself with their conditions.
And no we are not thinking of Jesus Christ, whose birthday has just been celebrated - - but rather the President of the United States Barack Hussein Obama.
For some time now, comparisons between the two have been a tool of cynical opinion that quickly became fatigued of the rapture that Obama instilled prior to and after the presidential election last year.
Leave it to the web site The Daily Beast to publish a lie-filled attack on the Catholic Church the day before Christmas. The author of the hate-filled piece is James Carroll, one of the country's foremost haters of the Catholic Church. He an anti-Catholic zealot. Period. (Is it any surprise that he also writes for the Boston Globe?)
At face value, it seems harmless enough. According to ABC "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts, every Christmas the show features various "spiritual leaders" to talk about the role of faith in their lives. And this year's Christmas Day broadcast was no exception.
"And now, it is a ‘GMA' tradition on Christmas Day, to talk about the role of faith in all of our lives," Roberts said. "We gathered a group of spiritual leaders from different traditions to talk about the importance of belief, in good times and belief in bad times, too."
On Christmas, I’ll offer a word of encouragement on one article I recently found. On December 18, New York Times art reviewer Ken Johnson wrote a largely favorable review of a current exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of 124 paintings on "The Life of Christ" by French painter James Tissot. He said a presentation of watercolor paintings of the New Testament caused a sensation in Paris in 1894. Two years later, the illustrated Tissot Bible became an international best seller.
Other paintings range from prosaic to visionary. The close-up of Salome gloating over the weirdly illuminated head of John the Baptist is wonderfully grotesque; the image of Jesus being carried aloft by a shadowy Satan is hair-raising. The scene in which Jesus stands alone before Pilate in an expansive stone room has a terrible pathos. That of Joseph at his workbench, mooning over his pregnant fiancée, is touching. You don’t have to be a devout Christian to get caught up in the story and its sad inevitability.
Inside the studios of talk radio and cable news, the hot talk about a "war on Christmas" has cooled somewhat in 2009. But the controversies over Christmas, which seem as eternal as religion itself, continue on a number of different levels.
There’s the schoolhouse war over politeness to religious minorities – and even more unnecessarily, the altogether non-religious. This is the kind where many parents sit through inane "winter" chorus concerts at both public and private schools where there are more songs about sleds and skis than about herald angels and newborn kings. In some cases, students even salute the holidays of religious minorities (including the recently invented Kwanzaa) while excluding any mention of Christmas.
At my son’s "holiday" middle-school party, students performed skits from "Star Wars" and "West Side Story" and there was even a tribute to Michael Jackson. Not one popular Christmas carol was sung all night. (Their version of a "Silent Night," come to think of it.)
The headline writers of Washingtonpost.com ought to win an award for the dumbest question of December. In a sentence promoting their discussion board for "The Secularist’s Corner," they wrote: "One in four Americans believe in 'spiritual forces' like ghosts. Is belief in the supernatural unlike the traditional story of Christmas?"
Is the traditional nativity story of Jesus unlike the story of... Casper the Friendly Ghost? Is the writer here an adult?
The headline is also goofy: "Christmas ghosts abound." Susan Jacoby, the unbeliever who hosts "The Secularist’s Corner," didn’t ask this question in her discussion-starter. She did suggest that Americans will believe all kinds of nonsense. Her headline was "You name it, Americans believe it." As an atheist, she doesn’t see any contradiction in embracing Jesus and New Age beliefs. It's implied they’re equally wacky:
It is with heavy heart that I report the following: Two great CBS television dramas, NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles, went the way of Law and Order last night (hat tip to NewsBusters reader Chris Reising). If you’re a fan and have not seen last night’s episode, be warned that this blog contains plot spoilers. [audio clip available here]
Now is the time of year when the network dramas are running the “Happy Holidays” message episodes. The NCIS franchise, a sort of military CSI show, ran with this message in each of last night’s episodes – with a twist. On NCIS, a young Marine is found murdered. He is found to be a recent convert to Islam (formerly a Christian), and the son of a retired Christian Marine chaplain. As the plot progresses, we find that the widow (also a Christian) has been, shall we say, unfaithful during her husband’s deployment. The father (the chaplain) has been paying his son’s unit members to harass him into quitting the Marines. And the murderer, we find, is the brother of the deceased.
Got an idealized notion of Christmas? A cherished memory, or a favorite carol or story? The simple smell of pine needles in your living room? Do you insist on celebrating the birth of the savior?
If so, you’re at war, like it or not.
The main war on Christmas – we’ll call it the conventional war – has been well-documented, and it goes on, with victories and defeats for both sides. In Loudoun County, Va. on Dec. 1, the Board of Supervisors reversed a ban on religious holiday displays on the courthouse lawn. (The one supervisor who voted “no” said, “I am concerned that this motion would turn the courthouse grounds into a public circus.”) Meanwhile, in Arizona, public school children remain unable to use Christmas themes when decorating ornaments for the Capitol Christmas tree.
There is plenty to report from the conventional front. But there are other fronts. There is the sexualization of the holiday, either in service to commercialism or out of the lefty arts community’s desire to be “transgressive” (read, vile and offensive). And there are the attempts squash the mysteries and magic that accompany even a traditional secular Christmas.
So from “living” lingerie mannequins to Frosty’s “porn collection,” and from the lies you tell about Santa to our president’s “non-religious” observance, here are some dispatches from the war on Christmas, 2009.
In what is easily the dopiest question I've read from a religion blogger in a while, Chicago Tribune's Manya Brachear closed her December 8 The Seeker blog post by asking readers if "dissenters" like pro-choice nun Sister Donna Quinn of Chicago "strengthen the church." In November, Quinn went public with news that she has "been rebuked for escorting patients into a Hinsdale clinic that provides abortions."
In "Pro-choice nun still fighting for women's care," Brachear explained how Quinn "is not backing down from her support of abortion rights, applauding the defeat of an amendment today that would have added restrictions to the health care bill for women seeking abortions."
Oh, it gets worse. Quinn apparently used the Virgin Mary as cover for sanctifying her pro-abortion views:
Apparently the Catholic Church is welcome when it promotes causes near and dear to liberal hearts, but it's shown the door as soon as it takes a hard line against controversial issues like homosexuality and abortion.
Robert McCartney of the Washington Post admitted as much in his Dec. 10 column about the effect legalized same-sex "marriage" could have on the charitable activities of the Catholic Church in Washington, D.C.
"I view the church as a tremendous force for good in the world in many ways, especially in its advocacy for the poor and against violence. The U.S. church supports more ambitious healthcare reform than Barack Obama, does, for instance," he wrote.
"But I part with the church - as many of its members do - on many of positions on sexual issues. Regrettably, those are the ones that religious leaders often seem to care the most about."
McCartney, argued that the diocese is allowing a "dispute over employment benefits," which he claimed "would have little practical effect," to force it to "give up doing valuable, publicly funded work helping the homeless and sick" because the Church does not "want to miss the opportunity, however small, to oppose homosexuals' right to wed."
Of course the encounter in question is that of literary critic Mary Gordon, a "liberal, feminist intellectual" who happens to be Catholic, is not a trained scriptural scholar, and admits to having "never actually read the full Gospel" prior to undertaking her "Reading Jesus" project.
"But off she goes anyhow, girded only by her considerable intelligence and disarming sincerity, determined to look squarely at the Gospels, how she reads them and how she maintains what she calls her 'hopeful faith,'" Charles notes approvingly, adding that Gordon's professed disinterest in converting readers or making doctrinal claims is: